The Spiritual Journey

LOVE is what we are born with.
Fear is what we learn.
The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear
and prejudices and Image result for spiritual journey
the acceptance of love back in our hearts.
Love is the essential reality
and our purpose on earth.
To be consciously aware of it,
to experience love in ourselves and others,
is the meaning of life.
Meaning does not lie in things.
Meaning lies in us.


~ Marianne Williamson

Bless the Lord

“Bless the Lord, O, my soul” (Ps. ciii. 1).

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me be stirred up to magnify His holy name.images64g41lm8

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Who so well can sing this thanksgiving song as we, rejoicing as most of us do, we trust, in this full salvation, and praising God for the glorious health of a risen Lord and a continual youth?

This psalm and its opening verses is in the very center of the Scriptures by an exact count of letters and verses. So let it stand in our lives, as we look backward and forward and upward in grateful thanksgiving as we sing in its closing strains, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Lord, center my heart in Thee and in the spirit of love and praise.

 

A.B. Simpson

Don’t Ever…..

Don’t ever be reluctant
to show your feelings
when you’re happy, give in to it…
When you’re not, live with it.

Don’t ever be afraid to try to
make things better
you might be surprised at the results.

Don’t ever take the weight of the world
on your shoulders.

Don’t ever feel threatened by the future
take life one day at a time.

Don’t ever feel guilty about the past
what’s done is done. Learn from any
mistakes you might have made.

Don’t ever feel that you are alone
there is always somebody there for
you to reach out to.

Don’t ever forget that you can achieve
so many of the things you can imagine.
It’s not as hard as it seems.

Don’t ever stop loving
Don’t ever stop believing,
Don’t ever stop Dreaming your Dreams.

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“Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.  I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.  They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.  This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” 

Psalm 34: 3-8

Light of the World-Manna

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Ye are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14


In order to have the Holy Spirit in large measure, we must keep near to the Lord, for if we get away from him, the light will go out.
If we neglect the privilege of prayer or of study of the Scriptures or of fellowship with the Lord through failure to think of him, the illumination of the Spirit will grow dim.

On the other hand, it will become brighter in proportion to our realization of our own imperfections and to the degree of our consecration to the Lord. This we manifest by the zeal with which we study his will as expressed in his Word, and with which we practice that will in the affairs of life. These are the means by which we may supply the oil to keep our light burning brightly.

Encourage One Another

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There is a reason why many people, including believers in Jesus, have the opinion that many Christians are aloof, unapproachable, and have unchristian behavior patterns. The things that many of them say, as well as the things that they never say, are a reflection of attitudes that are not in line with the heart of Christ. Sadly, this is harming the people of God, especially new believers in Jesus who do not know the Bible well. Because of their lack of Bible knowledge, they might not know when someone is misrepresenting the heart of Christ. There are many who undoubtedly would like to ask some Christians, “Why is it so easy for you to preach the truth to me, citing scripture after scripture, but it is so difficult for you to say something encouraging to me?

Discouraging Words

If we want to be Christians who do the will of the heart of Christ, we will edify the church; we will not discourage her. Every person who has received Jesus as Lord is part of the church.

Let’s focus on the need to learn what it means to love our brethren who are going through difficult times, tribulation, and the fiery trial of their faith. Following are some examples of the insensitive comments and statements that many Christians make in response to the suffering and the problems of their brethren in the faith. Take note of the words that are said, as well as those that are NOT said. And, compare the insensitive “Christian” responses with biblical responses that indeed do reflect the heart of Christ.

1. Should Christians who live in countries where they don’t suffer persecution for their faith in Jesus say to the martyrs: “Stand strong. You shouldn’t be sad because the Lord is our joy. You have to dress in the armor of God. That’s how we stand.” Although these words are true, they do not reflect the heart of Christ that is revealed when we read, “…Weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). “Bear ye one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2).

2. Is it okay for those who have parents that love them to say to the orphan who wants a father and mother: “Orphan, you shouldn’t be sad. Having parents is not what makes you happy in life. The Lord will be your Father and will take better care of you than a mother. The heart of Christ says, “I understand that you want a stable home and parents that love you. I join your prayers for God to grant your desire as there’s nothing wrong or abnormal in your desire. We read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27).

3. Is it okay for those who can walk to say to the person in a wheel chair: “Being able to walk will not make you happy. The only thing we need is a relationship with the Lord to be happy. But, the apostles Peter and John, who had the heart of Christ, did not give such an insensitive response to the man who was born lame. We read, “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer…. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate…. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold I have none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up. And, immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:1-9). Finally, that man could enjoy what so many people take for granted.

4. Should women who are mothers say to women who are barren: “You shouldn’t be sad. Having children will not make you happy in life. You can have many spiritual children through your service to the Lord.” Does the heart of Christ give such a callous response to the desires of others? No, it does not. We read, “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. …And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel…. For this child I prayed (said Hannah). And the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:6,10,19,20,27).

5. Is it right for married Christians to say to their single brothers and sisters: “You shouldn’t be sad. Having a husband or wife is not what makes you happy. The Lord is your joy. Do we forget how the heart of Christ responded to the desire of Hannah to have a child? The Lord did not make light of her desire. Why should Christians make light of the desires as well as the tribulations of their brethren in the Lord? If the only joy we need is the joy of the Lord, why did the Lord himself tell us to ask our petitions in his name that our joy may be FULL (St. John 16:24)?

6. Is is right for young Christians to tell the elderly believers who languish away in nursing homes: “You need not be sad, because you have the Lord. He is your friend and faithful companion.” What an insensitive and ugly response that does not reflect the caring heart of Christ. The Lord is the one who put the desire for friendship, as well as other desires, in man. He wants those desires satisfied, which is why he does not make light of them.

7. Is it right for those who have their freedom to tell our brethren imprisoned for their faith, as well as the innocent in prison: “Don’t be sad. If you are truly saved, Jesus is right there in prison with you. If these insensitive words truly reflected the heart of Christ, why then did Jesus say that when we visit our brethren in prisons it is the same as visiting him in prison (Matthew 25:31-46)?

8. Should gentile Christians, not having been subjected to the partial spiritual blindness that has happened to Israel, say things like: “The evidence that Christ is your Messiah and Savior of the world is as clear as can be, but you don’t see it. What’s wrong with you? The heart of Christ tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. True peace is Jesus. Do we love Christ, but not the people from which he came according to the flesh?

This list could go on and on. The idea is to keep in mind that when our brethren in the Lord are going through hardships, some of them are fighting the good fight of faith. The heart of Christ tells us to encourage, edify, and pray for them instead of making light of their troubles and their desires.

We are not told to send them negative messages that say that because they are depressed for a while that they are weak, abnormal, or don’t really know the Lord.

The Saints Experienced Great Depression

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

And, we read, “…Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1: 6-7).

Let Us Not Be Like Job’s “Friends”

The insensitive words that come out of our mouth as well as the encouraging words that we do NOT speak send messages, sometimes very negative ones. Saying things like, “You don’t need this or that to be happy. Let the Lord be your joy,” amounts to taking a “holier than thou” attitude. It can be perceived as saying, “Were I in your shoes, I’d be strong in the Lord. I’d know how to “hide” myself in Jesus.”

Let’s not forget that the so-called friends of Job got into much trouble because of the words they spoke to a suffering servant of the Lord. They spoke words that did not come from the comforting heart of Christ. They provoked the anger of God (Job 42:7).

The apostle Paul defines true Christian love. We read, “Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned (sacrificed), and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind. Charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth…” (1 Corinthians 13:1-6). Love is the heart of Christ.

Heavenly Manna

Refreshing Dew

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“I will be as the dew unto Israel” (Hosea 14:5).

The dew is a source of freshness. It is nature’s provision for renewing the face of the earth. It falls at night, and without it the vegetation would die. It is this great value of the dew which is so often recognized in the Scriptures. It is used as the symbol of spiritual refreshing. Just as nature is bathed in dew, so the Lord renews His people. In Titus 3:5 the same thought of spiritual refreshing is connected with the ministry of the Holy Ghost–“renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Many Christian workers do not recognize the importance of the heavenly dew in their lives, and as a result they lack freshness and vigor. Their spirits are drooping for lack of dew.

Beloved fellow-worker, you recognize the folly of a laboring man attempting to do his day’s work without eating. Do you recognize the folly of a servant of God attempting to minister without eating of the heavenly manna? Nor will it suffice to have spiritual nourishment occasionally. Every day you must receive the renewing of the Holy Ghost. You know when your whole being is pulsating with the vigor and freshness of Divine life and when you feel jaded and worn. Quietness and absorption bring the dew. At night when the leaf and blade are still, the vegetable pores are open to receive the refreshing and invigorating bath; so spiritual dew comes from quiet lingering in the Master’s presence. Get still before Him. Haste will prevent your receiving the dew. Wait before God until you feel saturated with His presence; then go forth to your next duty with the conscious freshness and vigor of Christ. –Dr. Pardington

Dew will never gather while there is either heat or wind. The temperature must fall, and the wind cease, and the air come to a point of coolness and rest–absolute rest, so to speak–before it can yield up its invisible particles of moisture to bedew either herb or flower. So the grace of God does not come forth to rest the soul of man until the still point is fairly and fully reached.

“Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress;
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

“Breathe through the pulses of desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, its beats expire:
Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm!”

Mrs. Charles Cowman

Whom Do You Say Jesus Is?

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

The ministry of Jesus made a significant impact on us as a people.  Not only did He draw huge crowds, but He also stimulated people to speculate concerning His identity.  Which brings up the question that He confronted His disciples with as found in Matthew 16:13; “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

Well, the people held Jesus in high esteem, comparing Him to the greatest prophets in Israel’s history.  However, their view of Jesus was not high enough which is no different from many today.

Back to the disciples. After hearing what people were saying about Him, Jesus pressed the disciples concerning who they believed He was. Peter quickly fired back, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was moved by Peter’s response, for He declared that Peter had not come up with that on his own; “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee” (Matthew 16:17).  He knew that this heartfelt confession was In fact from God.

Also mindful that as unique as Peter’s confession was, it was not the only confession of Christ’s true identity. Here are two such instances:

“The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed Is He Who Comes In The Name Of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”  Matthew 21:9

“Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54

Scripture does not say that these other confessions were revealed by God. Perhaps this could indicate that these confessions were not the deep work of God, but instead were the superficial responses of people who were acting in a moment of impulse. There is nothing new under the sun, and still remains the same some 2000 years later.

To truly know Jesus Christ is a special revelation from God.  The better one knows Him, the more convinced we become in knowing that He is God.   So whom do you say that Jesus is?

5 Things To Do When Reading the Bible

biblePray for the Spirit’s Guidance

The Holy Spirit can help us make more sense of the Scriptures if we pray for His imparting to us what God’s Word is saying.  Ask the Spirit to show you why God is saying this in His Word, what He is saying to me, where is this applicable in my life, and so forth.  As Jesus told the disciples, so He tells believers today that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

Pray for Application

I touched on this in the previous paragraph but the Bible is God speaking to us. Many people say that “God spoke to me about…” but I always say, does it match what God’s Word says?  We want to know how certain Scriptures apply to our everyday lives.  For example, Jesus said to “go into all the world and making disciples of all nations,” even if it’s next door (Matt 28:19-20).  Was Jesus just speaking to the disciples or was Christ telling to be His witnesses?  Surely, He was speaking to us all.

Have a Plan

I love the advice of many Bible teachers and scholars who advise us to have a daily reading plan so that we can gain wisdom from the Scriptures.   I read some out of the Old Testament and then some from the New Testament.  As hard as it is to do with my schedule, I must take time and make time for this very important reading.  Don’t worry so much about how much you read as much as you are reading it daily.  We don’t eat one meal on Sunday expecting it to last us all week do we?  So we must have a daily intake of the Word to sustain us through the difficult trials, temptations, and tests that come to every believer during the week. Have a plan and try to stick to it.

Meditate on the Word

It is one thing to read the Word, it is altogether another thing to contemplate what we read.  I would rather read only a few lines of Scripture and mediate on these than read a whole book and not remember most of it.  When we take time to reflect, ponder, and mediate on His Word, the Word penetrates deep into our mind and this allows us to internalize it to see just how awesome is our God.

Take Notes

I love to mark my Bible.  The paper is not holy….God’s Word is.  I highlight certain passages that are very important to me.  When I see certain verses I write them out or highlight them so that I can memorize them.  Second Corinthians 5:21 and 1 John 1:9 are very important to me because these are essential to every believer.  When we read something, then highlight it, and then write it out, we give our mind three ways in which the Word can sink down deep into our minds and we can recall them when they are needed.

May God richly bless you,

Pastor Jack Wellman

God’s Son

Mark 15:16-39 HCSB

Then the soldiers led Him away into the courtyard (that is, headquarters ) and called the whole company together. They dressed Him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews! ” They kept hitting Him on the head with a reed and spitting on Him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying Him homage. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’ cross. He was Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus. And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place ). They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it. Then they crucified Him and divided His clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get. Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him. The inscription of the charge written against Him was: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two criminals with Him, one on His right and one on His left. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says: And He was counted among outlaws. Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The One who would demolish the sanctuary and build it in three days, save Yourself by coming down from the cross! ” In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking Him to one another and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him were taunting Him. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah! ” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, offered Him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down! ”But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last.Then the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “This man really was God’s Son! ”

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